April 8, 2022
Have you been thinking about starting that 30-day challenge that keeps popping up on your feed, but just can’t get around to it? Or maybe you are a fitness trainer, looking for a way to reach more people around the world.
Whether you have a passion or a need for a healthier lifestyle, social media is a great tool to find the inspiration you need and take the first step. Just take a look at some of the top fitness influencers and their success stories.
They are ordinary people, like me and you, who followed their passion and turned it into something amazing. By reaching your fitness goals and helping others to do the same you could become a popular fitness influencer, host your own yoga retreats, or even become a celebrity personal trainer.
Here are 7 stories to prove it.
Note: If you want to start or grow your online personal training business, System2 has all the tools you need to make it happen. We’ll help you become a top fitness professional with cutting-edge tools and expert marketing advice. From website creation to social media to analytics, we’ll have you covered.
We’ve chosen some of the top influencers in the fitness industry all over the world. Going from hard-core bodybuilders to laid-back yogis and everything in between. Read on to find your inspiration.
Michelle Lewin is one of the most famous fitness influencers. She is a Venezuelan fitness model and bodybuilder with 14.7 million followers on Instagram and 8.6 million on Facebook. She also created two of some of the best fitness apps – Mealplan and Fitplan, where she offers guided fitness videos, health tips and personal training services.
She grew up in poverty, to the point of almost being anorexic because her mother couldn’t afford to buy food, so she ended up in an exercise center to try to improve her health. This is where her fitness journey began.
Eventually, she met and married a bodybuilder who helped her transform her body and encouraged her to pursue a career in fitness modeling. In 2012 they moved to Miami, where she began her career and just one year later she took part in five bodybuilding competitions.
In the following years, she went on to win many fitness competitions, including the NPC Fort Lauderdale Cup, and became the fitness Latin Queen, appearing in over 30 magazine covers including Playboy, Inside Fitness and Oxygen.
During this process, she stayed very active on social media, especially on YouTube where she shared her healthy lifestyle, workout videos, and body transformation. This is how she became a social media sensation and is now one of the top fitness influencers.
Jen Selter is a famous American model and internet celebrity, who started her fitness journey on Instagram, showcasing her fit body, specifically her buttocks. Her side pictures, showing off her “derriere” made her the first person to popularize the term “belfie” which is how she started gaining popularity.
Now, she is considered one of the most popular Instagram fitness influencers with 13 million followers. But she didn’t just stumble into success, she worked for it. She took the time to come up with tactics to become famous on Instagram, and she spent the next 2 years constantly updating her fitness progress and motivational posts.
Her obsession with staying fit, led her to follow a very strict workout routine that was a huge social media hit, helping her earn a huge fan following. Soon she decided to create other Instagram accounts to keep different aspects of her life separate.
She has an account to post only a couple of pictures, one for her dog, and other fitness-related ones such as workout outfits and fitness inspiration.
The amazing success of her primary Instagram account not only turned her into a fitness influencer and social media superstar, she also created a fitness app called FitPlan as well as an athletic jewelry brand called ION collection.
Kayla Itsines is an Australian fitness model, personal trainer and fitness influencer. She started working in the fitness industry at the age of 18 as a certified personal trainer in a local gym. Here she was able to identify what most women wanted to achieve with their body.
Kayla started training her sister’s friends to join the school’s netball team, and decided to post their before-and-after pictures on Instagram as a way to keep track of results. Soon, she was being contacted by women from all over the country who wanted her advice and guidance.
Seeing how many women reached out to her for help, Kayla’s partner suggested she should create a fitness program and put it out for sale, so she created the famous e-book that turned her into one of the most popular fitness influencers; The Bikini Body Guide.
It only took a few years for her to rack up millions of followers. Women worldwide who were following her bikini body workout routines, were showcasing their incredible results all over social media, which only helped Kayla gain even more success.
Now she is running massive events worldwide, is the co-founder of the leading women’s fitness app called Sweat and she has over 14 million Instagram followers. And it’s all, in her own words, “thanks to the success of other women”!
Simeon Panda is considered one of the most influential male fitness professionals in the world. He has 8 million followers on Instagram and his YouTube channel has more than 2M subscribers.
He is a British professional bodybuilder and personal trainer who started weight training when he was just 16 years old. He was a skinny teenager who just wanted to improve his strength and gain some muscle.
After a few years of training, he felt the need to share his knowledge online, so he decided to put some blog posts on a website. He initially intended to clarify gym myths, helping people who were new to the fitness world understand the journey a lot better.
Surprisingly for him, people responded very well to his posts, which encouraged him to quit his job at a software company and put his energy into creating e-books and hosting fitness seminars. He became very active on social media, where he would regularly post workout videos and nutrition tips which also helped him build up his following even more.
Since then, he’s been part of many bodybuilding competitions worldwide, winning the European Championship in 2013. He also owns a clothing brand and is still creating online workout programs to help people around the world achieve their fitness goals.
Joe Wicks, also known as ‘The Body Coach‘, is a British certified personal trainer, TV personality, and now one of the top fitness influencers on Instagram and YouTube. He has over 4M Instagram followers and almost 3M subscribers on YouTube. But how did he get there?
The body coach was always into fitness, he graduated from University with a degree in Sports Science and started his own business hosting boxing fitness bootcamps. He was handing out flyers at a local train station to try to get people to join his workouts.
His business was somewhat successful, but he wasn’t yet where he wanted to be. So he turned to social media to promote himself. In 2014 he decided he would start sharing healthy recipes in the form of 15-second Instagram videos, and this gained him national attention. Soon he had a lot more people interested in his workouts and enough followers to call himself a fitness influencer.
During the COVID pandemic, in the middle of national lockdown, Joe started a YouTube live workout series to keep children active, he called it “PE with Joe”. And this is where he boomed. Almost 1M people tuned in to his first live video, making it the biggest audience ever for online live workout videos.
He streamed another 68 workouts, which made him famous worldwide, and now he has a very successful online training program, where he regularly posts workout videos, fitness tips, and helps millions of people achieve a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re into yoga, you probably know Adriene Mishler. She is a writer, actress and international certified yoga teacher. Her YouTube channel ‘Yoga with Adriene’ has 11 million subscribers, and she also has a yoga app called ‘Find what feels good’.
Adriene was born in Austin, Texas and initially wanted to make a career in television, as an actor and voiceover artist. However, after taking a yoga class, she fell in love with the practice and completed a yoga teacher training course, hoping to share the amazing experience of yoga with as many people as she could.
She first started her YouTube channel in 2012 with the mission of bringing free yoga to her community, where she says, only wealthy people could afford to sign up for yoga classes. And ever since, millions of people are tuning every day to her channel, and they all find something to sooth them.
Her videos range from beginner to advanced practices, offering a little something for everyone. There’s “yoga for golfers”, “happy birthday yoga”, “yoga for date night”, and even “yoga for when you’re angry”. She has a super laid-back style with a down-to-earth practice that just makes her likable from day one.
Most of her content is free on YouTube, but for those who want more, she created the Find What Feels Good app, where she shares exclusive content, meditation practices, workshops, and an opportunity to connect with a one-of-a-kind global community.
Anllela Sagra is a fitness model and bodybuilder who quickly became a popular Instagram fitness influencer after her first bodybuilding competition. She was born in Colombia, and her dream was to become a fashion model. In fact, she graduated from the University of Colombia in fashion design.
Bodybuilding was not a familiar concept in her country, and the muscles of women were not considered attractive, so it never crossed her mind that she would end up making a living out of it. But plans change.
Anllela started working out with the intention of getting in shape to pursue her fashion modeling career, but soon, she met a trainer who in her own words “would change her perception and life”. She began weightlifting encouraged by him, and she immediately fell in love with the results.
A year later, in 2013, she entered her first competition where to her surprise, she obtained 3rd place. This is when she decided she wanted to leave the fashion designer dream behind, and become a bodybuilder.
In a very smart move, she also decided to document her transformation on social media, sharing her feelings about moving away from her modeling career. She also wanted to show her friends and family, who were not very supportive of the idea, how her body was adapting to new training styles.
This naturally earned her an army of like-minded followers which turned her into the social media superstar she is now.
See more fitness influencers who are up and coming here.
After reading this list, you are hopefully feeling more inspired to start your journey towards a healthier lifestyle and eventually become a fitness influencer. With the right strategy and tools, you can certainly make a living on social media.
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Written by: Brenda Hernandez
Fitness, Influencer, Personal Training Business